I actually had no intentions of doing this for a third time. Not because I harbor any kind of need to call to action the WWE’s removal of their Saudi Arabian business. Quite the opposite actually, I actually wish they’d run ALL their shows from Saudi Arabia. There’s an incomparable air of stupidity that emanates from these show; like a Mr. Tito column, they reek of unwarranted arrogance, never end, and get progressively worse as they go.
Instead, I actually had other Real Life commitments that stood in the way. With no legend matches promised (what am I without The Kane or Goldberg and his new Jackbuster?), I wasn’t going to juggle anything. That was until Braun Strowman promised to “literally” eat Tyson Fury for lunch. The second I hear a literal promise of cannibalism on a show taking place from a country with some questionable legal ramifications surrounding human rights, I knew I had to be here. Literally seeing a boxer eaten? I haven’t been this excited since I heard Saved by the Bell was going to be rebooted.
Of course, I’m immediately thrown off because I quietly have the kickoff show on in the background while I prepare lunch and my first of an expected 82 cups of coffee, and without fireworks or aplomb, there’s suddenly a cavalcade of losers en route to the ring, and now I’m scrambling to settle into my ass groove and bring you…
WE ARE LIVE FROM RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA!
20-MAN OVER-THE-TOP-ROPE BATTLE ROYALE (for a shot at the WWE United States title)
I don’t watch any of our weekly episodic programming anymore, so the only stars I recognize are the Saudi Royalty angrily watching from the front row with their arms crossed. Erick the Red and Luke the Harper have renewed their friendship but not their vows. Rockstar Spud tries to grab Rowan by the pubic stones, but he winds up getting thrown out. Rowan winds up on the apron, and still throws out a few more Cruiserweights because he is big, and per the laws of wrestling, basic momentum doesn’t work against him. There’s someone named “Vicious” Buddy Murphy in the ring, because the announcers keep talking about him, but I have no idea if he’s one of the little guys, the guy under the Sin Cara mask, or Mansoor who is not in this match. Apollo Crews dumps Titus O’Neil in an unacceptable double cross that’s going to be the talk of the wrestling world tomorrow. Then we go to a commercial break for some reason.
When we return, Harper and Rowan are frowning, so No Way Jose encourages them to wiggle their respective coconuts. He is tossed, and the bearded warriors resume screaming about who should toss out who. Do you think they talk like that backstage? “I REALLY LIKED THE COBB SALAD!” “THE VINAGRETTE WAS TANGY!” They surround Tozawa, and Harper gives a delightfully evil smirk which was all I needed to wishfully hope for a world title run in his immediate future. As the rest of the dorks are cleared, leaving us with two dudes in purple against the former Wyatt’s, the fans shock me by chanting “LET’S GO HARPER!” Hellz yes let’s go Harper! Cedric Alexander is unceremoniously sent packing, while Sunil Singh hilariously celebrates with his 24/7 title for some reason – prompting me to wonder when he won it in the first place. Ron Truth emerges from under the ring and wins the belt, bringing the Stampede O’ Losers back out to chase him around. Of course, they learned to run from the video game Lemmings, and none of them PIVOT to cut him off, and Truth escapes untouched.
Back in the ring, the final purple tighted guy is left for dead, but Rowan turns on Harper (not like that! I don’t think!) and in the confusion, our winner is …. Humberto Carrillo at 12:25? Thank god for the graphic, I kept hearing Carlos Correa, but there was no chance that was accurate given he doesn’t come up big when it matters.
Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon starts flicking her bean while carrying on about women competing tonight while remaining respectful to location tradition. Just wait until next June’s “Fewest Survivors Series Ever” when they straight up sacrifice Sami Zayn in the middle of the ring. The front row will fall right out of their barca loungers.
About 45 minutes later, FIREWORKS ARE ABLAZE BABY! The crowd roars in approval as Jamal Khashoggi’s ashes rain down upon them, and if bathing themselves in the blood of an infidel isn’t enough to make their monkeys wriggle, we’re kicking this off with…
BROCK LESNAR (with Paul Heyman) vs. CAIN VELASQUEZ (with Rey Mysterio Jr.) (for the WWE world heavyweight title)
This whole buildup is giving me Halloween Havoc 1998 vibes, and if Lesnar tries to throw a fireball, I’ll probably have to quit this for good cuz it’s never getting any better than that. The fans are solidly behind Lesnar, but then this is the same place where even the road rules are so lax that human trafficking won’t even land you a ticket. Velasquez delivers a kick to the side of the head, and leaps on Lesnar with the ground and pound, but Lesnar counters with a kimura gets the insta tap-out at 2:10! * Lesnar refuses to break, so Rey Mysterio intervenes and … promptly gets annihilated. Not done, Velasquez is assaulted with a chair before taking an F5 on top of it, but now Rey grabs a chair and beats off Lesnar in a non-gay way, per local custom.
THE BIGGEST TAG-TEAM TURMOIL EVER TO DETERMINE THE BEST IN THE WORLD
BOBBY ROODE and DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. LUCHA HOUSE PARTY
Dolph Ziggler is the wrestling version of the top piece of bread; everyone in the company is forced to touch him on their way to better things, but nobody wants to. This actually goes awhile with some good action, but I’d rather work as a human bidet than go through the intricacies of a Roode / Ziggler affair. Glorious DDT ends it sending us into…
BOBBY ROODE and DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. ZACK RYDER and CURT HAWKINS
A double team zig zag ends this as quickly as it starts. Moving along…
BOBBY ROODE and DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. HEAVY MACHINERY
Now you’ve got my attention! This guy Otis looks like the product of Roadblock and Ron Reese having one seriously uncomfortable night. If this guy doesn’t get over, I will completely lose faith in everything I’ve known to be professional wrestling. Tucker suffers a barrage of bore. Cole starts questioning the cardiovascular shape of Otis and Tucker, and quite frankly, I’d damn him to hell if he wasn’t already sitting there. Otis rips off his shirt and wiggles himself and Graves nearly kills me by questioning the legality of this. The front row Royalty starts pacing around uncomfortably except for this one really old dude holding up a camera like he works for Mr. Fuji. The Caterpillar draws a huge pop because these dudes know what’s what, and a double team splash takes out the Legion of Blow.
HEAVY MACHINERY vs. THE NEW DAY
Big E shows off his flexibility with a limbo, and he and Tucker take each other out. Not on a date, let’s be very clear for their personal safety. Otis enters and hungrily gives Kofi another Caterpillar, and the former world heavyweight champion kicks out at 2. Tucker eats a DDT, and Trouble in Paradise knocks Otis to the floor. Big E enters, but a belly to belly from Tucker gets 2. A double jump splash misses, allowing New Day to steal the pin.
THE NEW DAY vs. THE B TEAM
Well that answers the question of whether or not Bo Dallas still works there. They’re promptly eliminated. I can’t Bolieve it.
THE NEW DAY vs. THE REVIVAL
To the disappointment of the fans in attendance, the Revival is not made up of King Abdullah and his family. Even worse, they ARE made up of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, but thankfully NOT Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode. Kingston winds up in peril, but he fights his way back to his corner. Big E was knocked off his perch and nowhere to be seen, so Kofi is forced to lie around and kick out of some more moves for awhile. And shockingly, before Big E can even save, Kofi gets in a roll up that scores an unexpected pin. And since no one’s music plays to join us in the ring, they destroy Kofi for awhile until we finally get the music of…
THE NEW DAY vs. THE OC
Kofi appears to be easy pickins’, and so he is, as Big E is attacked in the corner, leaving Kofi to eat a Magic Killer. At least he lasted longer than against Brock.
THE OC vs. ERICK AYBAR
Michael Cole thankfully tells us this is the last time in the turmoil; and even though this has only been going like 30 minutes, I’ve been done with it since the first strands of “I’M HERE TO SHOW THE WORLD….” Erick throws the OC into each other, but Gallows strikes back and knocks him to the outside. Aybar comes in and cleans house, including sitting right down on Gallows. The OC comes back and threatens a Magic Killer, but after getting the first one stopped, a second one hits the mark and we have the world’s greatest tag-team at 32:05. We’ll see how Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin feel about that. Graves tells us this won’t soon be forgotten; a promise I vow to break before this recap is even posted. This was trash.
Cole smiles and tells us how lucky he is that he gets to fly back to the States and do Smackdown tomorrow. However, he blinks “kill me now” in Morse Code, and he’d better hope that no one in the front row understood that.
CESARO vs. MANSOOR
Mansoor looks like an Arabic Edge, using his striking good looks and constant tongue motion to win over these people. Lock up your wives! Assuming you haven’t already, which, let’s face it … Mansoor takes the early advantage and goes for a murder suicide dive. It’s stopped by a European uppercut, saving the lives of everyone in a 15 foot radius. Back in, Cesaro counters a sleeper with a backdrop, and heads up top. Whatever he had planned is stopped with a dropkick, and a jawbreaker “builds adrenaline!” A rana takes Cesaro to the floor, and a senton has him making the crazy eyes! A top rope splash gets two, as does a tornado DDT, and Mansoor’s eyes have taken on a life of their own. Cesaro stops the excitement with a punch to the plums, but with balls of stone, Mansoor doesn’t go down and hits a neckbreaker for 2. Cesaro sets up a Neutralizer, but Mansoor counters, only to wind up on the wrong end of a European uppercut, followed by a Crippler Crossface! The fans look horrified, but fear not, for Mansoor is not a weakling like Daniel Benoit, and escapes to hit a heroic superkick … for 2! Mansoor heads up, but Cesaro cuts him off and goes for a gutwrench, however the move is turned into a sunset flip mid-move and Cesaro’s head bounces off the mat like a typical day at the palace! Moonsault finishes at 12:45 and the place explodes … IN CHEERS! I’ll give them credit, this was a masterpiece in playing to the locals, and the place was legit losing their minds. Brilliantly booked with the right guy. ***1/2
Mansoor is given mic time, where he tearfully tells us he was nervous, but then he beat his wife and mother, and remembered anything was possible. “I cannot wait for what WE DO NEXT!” There best not be a dynamite plunger under the ring…
I don’t know how the hell anyone’s going to be able to follow that, this crowd is more worn out than wnyxmcneal’s fleshlight.
Backstage, SETH ROLLINS reads his script off a teleprompter. I’ve heard more believable lines from Donald Trump. “I’m going to BURN … IT … DOWN!” Crowd is way ahead of you, Seth.
BRAUN STROWMAN vs. TYSON FURY
Fury enters to “It’s Your Thing” by the Isley Brothers, and I am nearly doubled over. Even better, he’s dressed as the Gypsy King, complete in Saudi Arabian garb! Holy shit is this seriously happening?!? He then strips down, and is immediately shot. He no sells; a sign of things to come. Braun kicks his opponent to the mat, and Fury makes what he believes to be “I’m sore” faces but look more like “I can’t quite drop this deuce”. A shoulder tackle misses, and Braun hits the post, which Cole calls “A CRITICAL MOMENT!” Fury hits the floor, and Braun drops him with a right. For god knows what reason, Braun decides his best follow up is to take a jog around the ring, moving about as fast as Zack Gowen, giving Fury enough time to recover, re-hydrate, eat a five dollar foot-long, and then impatiently read some local propaganda about females behind the wheel, before Braun finally gets there and Fury kicks him in the face. Back in, Braun re-takes control, but Fury does the zombie sit up to a “whoa!” reaction from the fans. Of course, he’s got the in-ring charisma of …. Braun knocks his ass to the floor, and does a spinning motion, promising to run around the ring again. Fury is forced to just lay there for the requisite 7 minutes it takes Braun, and a shoulder tackle hits this time. Braun rolls him in, and Fury throws a punch to knock Braun right off the apron! Strowman gets counted out, and Fury wins by countout to end this thrilling shit show at 8:04. Post-match, Braun slams Fury and calls him a piece of crap. I’d have rather spent my time listening to Jim Ross bitterly talking about his service at Sonic this morning before relating it to an experience he shared with the Cowboy than ever watch another Braun Strowman match. Especially given no one was eaten. -***
Backstage, THE PARADE O LOSERS are chasing their own tails, running right past RON TRUTH who’s ducked into a side door. However, he’s cornered by THE SINGHS, and when he tries to escape, he runs face first into a door, allowing Samir Singh to steal the title. His hands are immediately cut off.
AJ STYLES (with The Best Tag-Team In The World, The OC) vs. HUMBERTO CARILLO (for the WWE United States title)
I can dig this, even though I don’t know who Carillo is, and secretly would prefer Humberto Brenes (“Ayyyy Yayyyy Style …. DEE CHARK EEES COMINK!”), I’m always down to check out a new face. Styles attacks hard and fast, and is immediately hired to work in the local embassy. Humberto ducks a clothesline and hits a double jump armdrag. Styles takes back over and hits a backbreaker for 2. Carillo retaliates with a handspring elbow, but another of his floating armdrags is turned into a slam and AJ gets 2. A brainbuster wakes the fans up a little, but Styles slows things down with a headlock, and no one gives a shit. Some unrealistic flipping stuff somehow leads to Styles on his back, and a triple jump springboard bodypress gets 2. I’m all for high flying, but these are literally ballet spots for the sake of it and it’s not working. I feel like Styles knows it too, and he hits the Pele kick to counter an enzuigiri and takes control back. They move to the apron, and Carillo bounces around to avoid being struck, hitting a missile dropkick to send AJ to the floor. A twisting bodypress knocks Styles out, and back in Carillo gets 2. They fight up top, where AJ threatens a super Styles Clash, but like the rest of this match, it ends in disappointment and Styles just throws his phenomenal forearms on the mat instead. Styles nearly botches a Styles Clash as Carillo fights to the ropes, so AJ tries a Calf Crusher instead, which apparently Humberto has tapped to previously. This time he makes the ropes, and hits an enzuigiri to knock down AJ! A moonsault misses, and Carillo switches mid move, nearly blowing out his knee instead. AJ hits the Phenomenal Forearm off the top and that ends that at 12:34. I’ll forgive this just this once, but if Carillo is still stinking up my Saudi shows when he hits puberty, we’re done.
HULK HOGAN shows up to share his values with BYRON SAXTON, who he’s renamed Beautiful Byron. Thank GOD his name isn’t Norman.
NATTIE NEIDHART vs. LACEY EVANS
Beneath a sports bra, an undershirt, a t-shirt, a latex bodysuit, another t-shirt, a hoodie, a winter jacket, and a hazmat suit, there are allegedly women in the ring. Both appear to be wearing shirts that would fit Otis to ensure we don’t get a whiff of a curve. They share a moment of sportsmanship, completely in line with their characters. We get many shots of excited women in the crowd, as rules dictate they are to be seen but not heard. Following some mat wrestling they shake hands and smile. Nattie’s ass winds up in a downward dog position and the camera quickly cuts away. Once that scandalous shot is done, Lacey gets dumped and Nattie smiles some more. She’s just happy to be here. Lacey hits a neckbreaker, but Nattie stops the follow up with the knees. Nattie blocks a bulldog with a slam, but Lacey hits REALLY badly, tailbone first, but thankfully she’s got 14 pairs of pants on and likely didn’t feel a thing. Lacey comes back with a moonsault off the top, getting 2, and the fans try to chant “HOLY SHIT” but not in unison. A second attempt is blocked, and Nattie channels her inner Anvil, pulling on her beard and putting on the Sharpshooter, making Lacey’s pile of laundry tap out at 7:21. The girls celebrate together, and Graves says “this is an even bigger victory, if you know what I mean”. I legitimately don’t. They cry, they embrace, and head backstage to be married off to the same man.
Back at the announce booth, Cole has aged another 9 years.
RIC FLAIR is introduced, and despite the country being dry, he’s still sobering up from the plane and has trouble with the ramp. If he stands any closer to the fireworks he’s likely to erupt in flame. Meanwhile, “BEAUTIFUL” BYRON joins the announce crew.
LASHLEY (with Lana’s wardrobe), SHINSUKE NAKAMURA, DREW MCINTYRE, RANDY ORTON, and BARON CORBIN (with Ric Flair) vs. RICK RUSEV, RICOCHET, SHORTY G, ALI, and RAZOR ROMAN (with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart)
Nakamura has the entire arena singing his theme in unison, a reminder he’s the coolest guy in every room, even this closet of skeletons. Ricochet is dressed like he’s competing in the previous match, while Shorty G is dressed for a lifetime of jobs. I can only assume Ric Flair’s purple face is embarrassment from being anywhere near that awful gimmick. Nakamura starts against against Gable, and we can only hope he kicks him into AEW where he’ll still suck, but at least I won’t have to see him. Ali gives Corbin the rugmuncher, which by law makes Baron his wife. Lashley and Rusev almost square off due to Storyline, but Drew McIntyre saves us. Lashley beats on Ali to “impress Lana” per Cole; but in order to do that she’d have to remove her mummy wrap to see it. McIntyre comes in and eats a DDT from Ali, and he hot tags to Ricochet. A springboard moonsault gets 2, and I half expected him to shake hands with everyone and burst into tears. Orton enters and poses to the loudest cheers of the match so far. Did he threaten to shake their hands if they didn’t? Corbin slows matters down with a chinlock, and then takes out half the face-side to prevent a tag. Of course, that’s about all he’s got, given he’s as useful as a teapot made of chocolate, and we turn back to Orton to keep the ring cut off. Ricochet lands on his feet off a backdrop, and finally makes the REAL hot tag to Roman who is given a superhero’s welcome.
Roman clears the ring, and dropkicks Orton’s head into the ring post! Sweet looking spot. Roman does the 10-punch count-a-long in the corner, with Jimmy Hart hilariously jumping up and down with every single one! Leg drop and a point to Hogan cues up the Superman punch, but the heels strike to stop that. Roman clears the ring, but winds up one on one with Orton. A blocked RKO is countered with a Superman Punch, but Corbin saves at 2! All hell breaks loose, and finishers are delivered fast and furious. Through the chaos, Rusev and Lashley wind up alone and throw down, blocking fewer punches than a Rocky Balboa match. Everyone winds up on the floor, and Roman takes out all the heels with a suicide dive! Back in with Orton, Superman is blocked and the RKO … gets 2! I thought that was it! Unfortunately our momentum is shot with Orton standing around for an eternity who cues up the punt. That gives the faces plenty of time to recover, and Ricochet hits a standing SSP on Orton, with the spear finishing things clean as a sheet at 19:50. This was a thoroughly entertaining affair, and despite the lack of stakes, the high energy of the wrestlers and the crowd was enough. They clearly do NOT understand the spirit of Crown Jewel, and I humbly request next time we get Hogan v. Flair instead. ***
SETH “THE HEATH SLATER” ROLLINS vs. THE FIEND (in a match that can’t be stopped for the WWE Universal title)
My interest is piqued; if this match theoretically can’t be stopped, how does it end? Death? I’m not prepared to rule anything out. I’m legit disappointed this is where we’re at though; they have their most interesting new character in ages, with a veteran talent who’s completely remade himself, but he’s working for a company that’s castrated more men than a Rabbi with Parkinsons. Here’s the issue; if you you start at the top and fail, you can only go down. It’s asinine to book this if you can’t follow through. However, I remain as hopeful as Charlie Brown with the football, and can only hope they re-write their wrongs tonight. Wyatt takes early control, but the kaiser blade gives Seth the momentum. A top rope knee shakes Bray, but he stands up before the stomp and can’t be taken down. Ringside, Bray eats a stomp and no-sells before taking Seth down. He sets up a spear, but Seth side-steps and Bray crashes through into the front row, where seated amongst the royalty, is considered the 9th scariest person. The top of the announce is utilized as a weapon, and while Bray lies around, Seth constructs a fort out of tables. Bray should retaliate and burn down HIS play house, see how he likes it. Wyatt tries to attack but gets beaten up with a chair, and Seth grabs his trusty sledgehammer. Wyatt tries the Mandible Claw, but Seth bashes in his skull with the sledge … only to see Wyatt fail to react at all and throw Seth into the announcers. Hey, I like a dude who doesn’t feel pain and all, but no selling sledge shots to the face is the kind of thing that’s going to make Tommy Hall say “EGADS”. For the sake of his mental health, let’s tread lightly.
Bray tries to splash Rollins through the tables, but Seth side steps and Bray crashes through, drawing a 1-count. Is Bray modeled after the Coyote? Everything he tries backfires, he takes an unrealistic amount of pain, but walks away unscathed and just keeps on coming. And that’s exactly what happens – except THIS time as Rollins heads up, Bray shoves him into his fort, and the tables explode! Not literally, to be clear. Bray pulls up the protective mat, pushes the dead bodies aside, and stands around plotting while the fans chant “BRAY’S GONNA KILL YOU”. Sister Abigail is set up, but Rollins escapes with an enzuigiri and starts slamming Bray in the face with the 600 pound stairs. A stomp on the floor gets 2, which is the closest the Fiend has come to getting pinned.
A series of chair shots send Bray into the front row, but Wyatt waits idly by to hit a Sister Abigail off the barrier and Seth falls lifelessly to the floor. Naturally, he kicks out at 2. Bray sends Rollins back to ringside, declines the Prince’s offer of an AK-47, opting to utilize his stall tactics and hopefully bore Seth into submission. They slowly make their way up the stage, and Seth blocks a uranage off a ledge. A stomp is met with the Fiend standing up instantaneously, so Seth starts his siege of kicks, and hits a fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh stomp. Graves: “What is it going to take?” Maybe he should try a stomp. And indeed, that’s what he does, and with Bray teetering on the edge of the stage, Rollins delivers a series of superkicks until Bray falls into the pile of fireworks! The ring crew rushes over with fire extinguishers, or tear gas, and as Rollins approaches, a suitcase is kicked into Rollins’ face and Bray pops up like a movie villain. The Mandible Claw sets up Sister Abigail, and FINALLY Bray ends this fiasco with a win at 21:21. Right result, but holy hell that was a painful path to get us here. *1/2
Bray stands on the stage, posing with the belt and looking like the scariest mofo on earth. However, before we can end on that terrifying note, we get a colorful shot of the stadium and another moment of self-satisfied jerking off about the ladies wrestling. Head on over to wwe.com for the latest…
DID YOU KNOW
- 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat
- 2019: Stephanie McMahon breaks the Saudi Arabian women’s barrier